Lakeshore News Tonight

Gary Airport Public-Private Update

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September 4, 2013 — Northwest Indiana business leaders and Gary Chamber of Commerce members are getting an update about proposed Gary Chicago International Airport public-private, or P3, proposals under review by an airport ad hoc committee.

Today, Gary business leaders heard firsthand from some key members of the P3 committee about the direction they would like to see the Gary Chicago International airport go.

Committee member Bo Kemp told Gary business leaders and Chamber of Commerce members, “For those who are still stuck in the old paradigm of thinking of what we can’t be, you’re going to miss an opportunity if you don’t wake up and move.”

Committee chair Carrie Hightman supports Kemp, “I was probably a little skeptical like all of you, ‘What can we really do, and what kind of difference can we really make?  How can we improve the City of Gary?'”

She says 10 private investors are interested in helping Gary take the airport into the future.  Hightman wants, “to not just grow the airport, which is part of the issue here, but to grow the entire region. Economic development and real estate development is a huge part of what we’re trying to do.  There are investors who want to invest in the region.”

Kemp and Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes say they think Gary business leaders should consider how this business opportunity benefits the community.  Hughes says, “If the cities band together we all know the importance and ramifications of this magnitude.  If all the cities get together and be,  ‘Look how far this airport will go.’’

Kemp says, “We’re able to coordinate with the state, NWI, but with all the various entities because it’s not just the city;  it’s the airport;  it’s a number of different public entities that also play a role in this P3.”

The committee says many investors are interested in getting on-board and they hope Gary business leaders and airport board members will welcome them. It says it hopes to make a Public-Private Partnership recommendation to the airport board in about a week.



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